Basic Homemade Bread

basic homemade breadAn oldie but a goodie.

I posted this recipe over four years ago. It came from one of Dave’s customers back in the late 1980s. I’ve been making this recipe for a lot of years. You probably have your favorite, too. You don’t even need a mixer to make homemade bread. You can read about that here.  Every serious homemade bread baker has her own favorite recipe, but most of us like to try different ones from time to time. I’ve edited this post to make it up to date, but the recipe is the same.

I am of the opinion that nothing spells comfort better than a slice of homemade bread – fresh out of the oven.  I’m also of the opinion that bread tastes best when it’s baked in an outdoor oven or in a wood cook stove.

And, since I’m giving my opinion, let me just tell you this: I also think that, when it comes to baking bread in an outdoor oven, the actual recipe isn’t as important as the fact that it’s baked in that wood-fired oven.

Since I have neither in my house, I use my convection oven – which also happens to bake some awesome bread.

bread 2 loaves b

 Rekindling my past

If you’ve been on my blog before,    you might know that I grew up          helping bake homemade bread in    our mother’s bakery.  And for the      past dozen years or so, I’ve       helped bake bread in an outdoor   oven, an annual autumn family   tradition. You can read about that venture here.

It helps that I own a Bosch (thank you, Dave!) and that makes mixing up bread a snap.  I usually double or triple a recipe.  After the loaves are cool, Dave slices them and we put them into freezer bags. That’s a trick I learned from my mother, who used to tell her customers to do that when they were afraid of buying her two-pound loaves.  “You can just take a few slices out of the freezer at a time,” she told them.

The reason Dave slices the loaves instead of me is because he gets the slices straight – and I don’t.  Uniform or sloppy slicing does not a happy husband make. I like the loaves sliced thin so I can eat two slices on a sandwich and  not feel guilty for consuming as many calories.  My kids like them thicker because they say it makes better French Toast and Grilled Cheese sandwiches than thin slices. Either way you slice it, it’s just plain good.

breadIn case you’re wondering, this apparatus is a Cook-n-Dine. We love making grilled cheese sandwiches on this. The sandwiches in the outer circle are in the “warming zone” and the ones in the center are grilling.

breadYou can use this recipe (or any bread recipe) for French toast as well. You’ll find homemade makes better sandwiches and toast.

The recipe’s source

I got this recipe years ago (oh, something like thirty-two years, I think it was).  Dave was doing some remodeling at an elderly lady’s house, and she happened to be making homemade bread that day.  She sent a loaf home with Dave.  It was so moist and good that I called her and asked her for the recipe.  Neither  Dave or I can remember who this lady was  (isn’t that embarrassing?!) but the recipe card says it comes “From the recipe file of Clarice Potter.”

The card is yellowed from years of use, and there are oil splatters in many places.   It’s starting to bend and tear and I figure if I go ahead and post it here, I won’t need to worry about not being able to read the card anymore.

homemade bread 5

Can’t you just about smell this bread?! You’ll notice that the loaves in the front look crisper. That’s because they just came out of the oven. The loaves in the back are more “wrinkled” – that’s because they’ve had time to cool.


You’ll just need the usual ingredients: bread flour, yeast, water, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt.

Before you get started, here are a few pointers:

  • make sure your water is not too hot and not too cold.  It should be around 110 – for me, that means I can put my finger in the water and hold it for a little bit.  If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, it won’t activate the yeast.  Either way, it means the dough won’t rise
  • sugar helps activate the yeast.  You might want to decrease the sugar; that’s okay, but remember that you need some sugar to help the yeast do its job.
  • bread flour makes better bread. You can use regular flour, but it changes the texture of the dough. I have at times had to add regular flour when I ran out of bread flour in the middle of mixing a batch.
  • While the dough is rising (in the bowl and in the bread pans) keep it away from drafts. That means either turn your fans off or throw a towel across the dough – or  move the dough to another place where it won’t get that draft.
  • One time I made the mistake of doing a thirty-minute exercise video in the next room while my loaves were rising. I came out to find that the loaves had “flopped.”  Learn from me and don’t try that! I used to remind my kids not to run in the house if they wanted good bread (while it was rising). It worked. 🙂

the recipe

Homemade Bread
Any way you slice it, there's nothing that speaks comfort like a slice of fresh, homemade bread.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course homemade bread
Servings 3 large loaves


  • 1 quart warm water 4 cups
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons yeast You can add another Tablespoon if you're in a hurry
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour to start then enough to make the dough not sticky (7+) as needed
  • 4+ more cups flour see note above


  • Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. (You can do this in 1 cup and then add the rest of the warm water to the batch)
  • To the yeast mixture, add salt, vegetable oil and 3 cups flour
  • Add more flour, 1/2-1 cup at a time until the dough no longer clings to the side of the bowl.
  • Put dough onto counter and knead until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat the entire dough mixture
  • Let dough rise until it is double, then punch down
  • Let the dough rise again, and then punch it down again
  • Grease bread pans and shape dough into loaves.
  • Put melted margarine or vegetable oil on top of loaves
  • Prick each loaf in several places.
  • Let rise until double
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.


As mentioned above, this recipe was posted during my first year of blogging – 8+ years ago. I still use this recipe!

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  1. I make whole wheat bread and someone told me to add dough enhancer…do you know why they told me this ? Do you bake your bread in glass or tin pans??
    How long do you let it sit in the pans before removing it.
    I enjoy making my own bread…….it is so delicious 🙂
    My hubby also slices our bread since I don’t make the slices even 🙂
    Bertha Metzler

  2. Hi Bertha,
    Thanks for dropping in. I use regular bread pans – no stoneware or glass – but I know it can be done in those, and I have friends who use both kinds. Honestly, I am not sure about the dough enhancer. I have never used it. I take my bread out of the pans when they come out of the oven. I probably do that because my mother had to do that. When she took 30 loaves of bread out of the oven, we had to get the pans emptied so we could put more bread into the pans to rise. I’m sure you can wait a while, but I don’t know why you would need to wait. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Gert – I made a double batch of your easy dinner rolls for a funeral the other day. They were great! My husband’s favorite is still your oatmeal bread recipe. I also ordered some drawing salve from your cousin Lucy. She sure does make some beautiful quilts. Always look forward to reading your blog and for your willingness to answer my questions over the years. Thanks so much

  4. Hi Karen,
    What kind thoughts! Thank you so much. I’m glad you (and hubby) can enjoy the bread. My Dave loves the oatmeal bread, and I don’t make it often enough, I’m ure. 😉 Enjoy the salve – when it’s needed! 🙂

  5. Hi. Want to try this but is the salt really a Tablespoon not teaspoon? Seems like a lot and I prefer a sweet bread so can I add more sugar and how much if you know please? Thanks

  6. Yes, the salt is one Tablespoon. This is for 3 loaves of bread, so it’s 1 teaspoon salt per loaf. The loaves can easily be sliced into at least 12+ pieces, so you’ll be getting one-twelfth of a teaspoon of salt (or less) per slice [or you can make that 1/3 of a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, which isn’t much salt 🙂 ]. I don’t have a suggestion for how much more sugar to add. The purpose of the sugar is to help the yeast do its work, but certainly, if you like sweeter bread, you can try adding some.

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